GDC | Game Narrative Summit

Game Narrative Summit

Learn about interactive narrative in all forms, including AAA blockbusters, indie games, mobile, and social projects in the Game Narrative Summit, Monday and Tuesday, March 19-20, 2018. Hear an all-star lineup of speakers covering advanced theory and practical case studies for writers, designers, producers, and others with a passionate interest in the ongoing evolution of interactive storytelling.

2017 Highlighted Sessions (M-T)

All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, or GDC Summits Pass required to attend summit sessions (M-T).

Bringing Fantasy to Life in 'Final Fantasy XV'
Dan Inoue (Square Enix)
Once upon a time, fantasy stories were evergreen, locked in the timeless safety of their tropes, their canon immune to real-time promotional developments and pre-release companion projects. This talk will discuss how "a fantasy based on reality" came to reside in the real world, and what rules were made and broken to maintain a cohesive, coherent narrative amid swathes of information. Come learn how the fantasy came to life.
Breaking Marginalized Character Narrative Molds to Write Better, Richer Characters
Shawn Allen (NuChallenger)
In the video game space there is a yearning to create more black and brown characters, and yet the results are usually mixed, with bad representations being the most common output. Come listen to the creator of 'Treachery in Beatdown City's' lived experience as a black game designer, writer, and cultural critic as he talks about how he approached creating dozens of characters of various ethnic groups in a fictional New York, and how he too has stumbled on his way.
Fade to Black? Writing and Designing Sex Scenes in Games
Michelle Clough (Freelance)
As games mature, the industry is gradually becoming more comfortable with tackling sex and sexuality. But while narrative designers might consider sexuality in terms of its larger human themes, they must also consider the specifics: the moments in games that depict the act of sex. This talk examines the details and provides a toolbox for how to approach sex scenes in narrative design: how to ensure the development team is on the same page, how to contextualize the sequence within the game, and how to create a compelling, appealing, and meaningful moment.
Creating Franchise Characters
Bob Bates (Independent)
The top ten movie franchises of all time and seven of the all-time top 10 game franchises are character–based. This session will look at what these franchise characters have in common. Do you think it's a coincidence that Harry Potter, James Bond, Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, Tony Stark, Bruce Wayne, Peter Parker, and Dominic Toretto are all orphans? Find out what else they have in common in this session geared at helping writers create memorable characters of your own.

Game Narrative Summit Advisors

Tom Abernathy
Tom Abernathy is the Studio Narrative Director at ArenaNet. His major game credits include 'Guild Wars 2, 'The Division', 'League of Legends', 'Crimson Alliance', 'Halo: Reach', 'The Saboteur', and 'Destroy All Humans!' 1 & 2. An 18-year industry veteran of Jumo (Director of Narrative), Riot Games (Lead Narrative Writer), Microsoft Studios, and the late, great Pandemic Studios, in 2009 Tom was named as one of "The Gamasutra 20: Top Game Writers." He was also the primary writer on this year's multi-award-winning 'Man in the High Castle' project 'Resistance Radio,' and his most recent film credit, 'Bad Country,' was released in 2014 by Sony Pictures. Follow him on Twitter @tomabernathy.
Lev Chapelsky
Lev Chapelsky is a founding partner and GM for Blindlight, a Hollywood-based company that works exclusively for the video game industry, providing game producers with consultative advice on working with outsource talent, as well as soup to nuts production of outsourced projects. Blindlight's core disciplines include story development, script writing, celebrity acquisition and voiceover production.  Since its founding in 2000, Blindlight has earned over 300 game credits and a client list that includes 19 of the top 20 game publishers. Blindlight continues to work as part of extended development teams on original game properties, including the 'Splinter Cell', 'Far Cry', 'Elder Scrolls', 'Dishonored', 'Fallout', 'Tomb Raider', 'Guild Wars' and 'Destiny' franchises, and on dozens of film and TV licensed properties. Lev holds a B.F.A. degree from Notre Dame, an M.B.A. from UCLA and a degree in International Business Management from The Stockholm School of Economics.
Richard Dansky
Ubisoft/Red Storm
As Central Clancy writer, Richard has been with Red Storm/Ubisoft for over a decade. He has worked on games in series such as 'Splinter Cell', 'Ghost Recon', 'Rainbow Six', 'Far Cry' and 'Might and Magic', with his most recent title being 'Tom Clancy's The Division'. A former executive of the IGDA Writers' Special Interest Group, Richard is the author of seven novels and one short fiction collection. He has also contributed to numerous books on games and game design, including the award-winning, "Hobby Games: The 100 Best." Previously, Richard worked on more than a hundred role-playing game books for White Wolf Game Studios. His published work includes short fiction as well as literary criticism, book and music reviews, humor and a brief stint as the world's greatest authority on Denebian Slime Devils. He lives in North Carolina.
Susan O'Connor
Susan O'Connor Writing Studio
Susan O'Connor is a writer. She works with studios to create worlds and adventures for video games. Titles in her portfolio have sold over ten million copies and generated more than half a billion dollars in sales. Gamasutra has named her as one of the top writers working in the video game industry today. She has been a featured speaker at SXSW, TEDx and the Austin Film Festival. A native of Austin, O'Connor now lives in San Francisco and splits her time between game projects, TV assignments, and surfing. She is represented by United Talent Agency.

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